In the first true showdown of the summer drum corps season, the 2001 World-Champion Cavaliers of Rosemont, Ill., edged out the Blue Devils of Concord, Calif., by a mere 1.7 points at the Spirit of America contest in Jacksonville, Ala., last night."I thought we were the best we've been so far this year," said Jeff Fiedler, Cavaliers corps director. "The guys did a tremendous job. They were consistent and energetic.""The Cavaliers are an excellent corps – they're well-prepared, well-programmed and really proficient," Blue Devils corps director David Gibbs said of the Cavaliers' performance.Fiedler said all performing corps benefited from the cooler-than-normal late June Alabama weather. As the Cavaliers took the field at approximately 8:30 p.m., the temperature hovered around a comfortable 80 degrees. "That's 10 to 15 degrees cooler than it should be this time of year," Fiedler said.Field conditions were "pretty good," Fiedler said, adding that the field was "dry." The Cavaliers ranked first in every judged category, although the Blue Devils scored very close to the Cavaliers in just about every category. The Cavaliers final score was 76.85; the Blue Devils scored 75.16.The two corps face off again tonight in Dothan, Ala., and in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday."It was great for our first show out of the chute. They worked really hard at it," Gibbs said, adding that the Blue Devils show at this stage of the season is "a work in progress – there will be tons of changes coming soon." Fiedler said that the Cavaliers would continue to tweak their show as well in the coming days. "We will work on the ending," Fiedler said as to what the Cavaliers would address in immediate practices.Spirit ranked third with a final score of 61.05, and the other Division I corps performing, the Kiwanis Kavaliers, scored 50.60. In Division II/II action, the Magic of Orlando scored 73.50, and Teal Sound scored 47.70.
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